It is doubtful the guests invited to celebrate at the Ragdan Halls on the outskirts of the city of Tira knew that the land on which they were dining and dancing was intended for the construction of a cemetery. Almost four years have passed since the Regavim movement’s area coordinator located two large and illegal events gardens which were being built on the outskirts of the city of Tira, only a few yards from Highway 6.
Tira, population of 26,500, a neighbor of Kfar Saba, is part of the Arab Triangle, a concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line.
A quick inquiry revealed that the area on which the event gardens were being built without a permit had been approved as part of a master plan for the construction of a cemetery.
It also turned out that those event gardens were being built below the IEC’s high voltage lines – contrary to safety guidelines and in a way that greatly endangered the lives of anyone staying below them.
The Ragdan Halls owners waged a lengthy legal battle against the state, in an attempt to prevent the enforcement of the law, and some six months ago, after the legal barriers to demolishing the sites had been removed, the Regavim movement appealed to the Israel Police National Enforcement Unit to carry out the demolition orders issued for the buildings, before they expired.
Following the referral, this week the National Enforcement Unit destroyed the larger of the two halls.
“We congratulate the national unit that conducted a determined law enforcement move here, and strived to carry out these complex enforcement procedures despite the difficulties,” said Yachin Zik, Regavim’s director of operations.
“This case is a clear expression of the necessity of the ‘Kaminitz Law,’ which today enables law enforcement agencies to operate with a wide range of tools to create immediate deterrence,” Zik said. “The situation that prevailed before the amendment of the enforcement section enabled the construction offenders to wage a war of attrition against the system for many years.”
Amendment 116 to Israel’s Planning and Building Law, named after Deputy Attorney General Erez Kaminitz, was enacted in 2017 and provides Israel’s law enforcement with substantial legal tools to raze illegal construction inside the 1967 border. The law has been used against illegal Jewish construction, too, but it proved to be immensely effective in finally dealing with the rampant illegal construction in the Arab sector.
Before the establishment of the current coalition government, when Blue&White was still in negotiations with the Joint Arab List for its support, Benny Gantz reportedly promised to do away with the Kaminitz Law.